Individuals on a vegetarian diet, and in particular those following a vegan one that includes no animal products, find they have better results than dieters on other weight reducing plans. “In fact, they can lose around 2 kilograms/4.4 pounds more on the short term,” says Ru-Yi Huang of E-Da Hospital in Taiwan after reviewing the results of twelve diet trials. The findings ¹ appear in the Journal of General Internal Medicine ², published by Springer.
Huang’s study involves 12 randomized control trials. Dieters followed a specific diet program between 9 and 74 weeks. “It is the first study to combine the findings from various independent projects that weighed up the results of vegetarian diets against other eating plans. These include the Atkins diet, and ones recommended by the American Diabetes Association or the US National Cholesterol Education Program.” 3
Participants in vegetarian diet groups lost more weight, approximately 2.02 kg/4.45lb., then participants who ate meat and other animal products. Those following a Vegan diet lost even more weight. “Comparatively, they lost around 2.52 kg /5.56 lb. than non-vegetarian dieters. Vegetarians who do consume dairy products and eggs lost around 1.48 kg/3.26 lb. more than those on a non-vegetarian diet.” 3 Individuals following vegetarian diets “that prescribe a lower than normal intake of calories (so-called energy restriction) also shed more kilograms than those without any such limitations being placed on their eating habits.” 3
According to researchers, the copious intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables may play a part in the results seen in vegetarian diets. Whole grain foods and vegetables have a low glycemic index for the most part and do not cause blood sugar levels to spike. “Fruits are rich in fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and protective chemicals that naturally occur in plants. Whole-grain products contain soluble fiber. Such so-called good fiber helps to delay the speed by which food leaves the stomach and ensures good digestion. It also allows enough nutrients to be absorbed while food moves through the intestines. Several studies have reported that fiber consumption helps with weight loss.
“Vegetarian diets are more effective than non-vegetarian diets for weight loss,” says Huang, who added that longer-term intervention trials are needed to investigate the effect of vegetarian diets on weight control and cardio-metabolic risk.” 3
- Huang, R-H. et al (2015). Vegetarian Diets and Weight Reduction: a Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of General Internal Medicine. DOI 10.1007/s11606-015-3390-7
- The Journal of General Internal Medicine is the official journal of the Society for General Internal Medicine.
- Robinson, J. (2015, June 30). To shed weight, go began. Retrieved July 2, 2015, from Springer: http://www.springer.com/us/about-springer/media/springer-select/-to-shed-weight–go-vegan/679206
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